Before joining the public service, Goaba Mojakgomo made his name as the charismatic, unapologetic host of Duma FM’s Emergency Room, a show which dominated the morning airwaves.
With his star on the rise, the 29-year-old Serowe native surprised many when he turned his back on radio, hanging up his mic for a government post in 2017.
Mojakgomo boasts a BA in Media Studies, a Masters in Research and Public Policy as well as a Post-Graduate Certificate in Entrepreneurial Risk Management.
This Monday, The Voice’s SHARON MATHALA visited ‘Daddy Jakes’ at his government office, days after he launched the Born and Raised detergents, stocked countrywide at Choppies stores.
Q. First things first – how did the name ‘Daddy Jakes’ come about?
Well, I was given that name by a listener – I can’t remember his name.
The listener described me as the father of radio and hence the name Daddy.
He also incorporated my surname Mojakgomo for Jakes and hence ‘Daddy Jakes’.
Q. Tell us a bit more about your journey in Radio.
My Radio career started in 2010.
At the time I was a 2nd-year student at the University of Botswana (UB).
I volunteered as a producer for the experience but I was told I had the right persona for radio and hence they trained me for the presenter role.
Upon completing my schooling, I joined the Duma FM team as a journalist and I did that for two years.
During those two years, I would act as a stand-in for the morning show host whenever they were unavailable.
I was then given the mid-morning show during the weekend.
The shows really were mostly current affairs.
When the morning show host left I was eventually offered the slot but I felt I was still inexperienced.
Q. Nevertheless, you took the job?
I was given a team to work with and help me get on my feet.
They were very senior and so they complemented and held my hand.
I also had a very good producer and so the team moulded me into being comfortable behind the mic and in my space.
However, I was fired from my job six months on but returned the following year.
Q. Why were you fired?
I was asking for too much I guess.
I had approached management and asked for a raise and some of the perks I was entitled to.
I believed I was making money for the station.
We didn’t agree and so I was sacked!
I was called by the station owner after a year.
He asked that I return because he was not happy with those that had taken over the show.
That was in 2015.
I eventually left in 2017 to join the public service.
Q. Why did you leave radio for a Government job?
I felt I had done everything that had to be done on the radio.
The only thing left was maybe a management position but I was not ready to manage talent.
I also felt I needed a new challenge in my life and so I started doing extra courses.
It was purely for growth purposes.
Q. Three years down the line how are you finding the public service?
It is a good place to work but has its limitations, particularly for a young person because of the bureaucratic processes.
For a young innovative guy, it can seriously take a toll on you, especially when it comes to decision-making.
But it has definitely made me appreciate Government processes and how Government works.
Q. How so?
I now know how Government and its processes work.
I know how policy is drafted, the processes in Government.
I think during my time as a journalist I was lacking in my understanding of how Government works.
If I knew that which I know now, particularly the processes of Government, I would have been a far better journalist than I was.
I would report far better about Government.
Q. You have joined forces with your business partners to form Born and Raised – tell us more about the brand.
Well, Born and Raised was initially meant to be a music festival to celebrate our home village, Serowe.
I and my partners were all born and raised in Serowe and that is how the name came about.
With the proceeds, we wanted to give back to the community that helped groom us into the men we are today.
We sought to make a difference in Serowe by giving back with some of the proceeds from the show.
Q. You have done a lot of CSR initiatives over the years…
In 2018 we built a two bedroomed house for a family of 15 in Matlhako village.
The following year we adopted Motalaote Primary School and donated some computers, graduation apparel, t-shirts and the like.
We are also working on building another two bedroomed house for a family in Pala road.
Q. And now the question all music fans want to know – will there be a show this year?
According to our plans, we want to go ahead with the show.
We are engaging with the task force team to ensure they give the thumbs up to our proposal.
We have requested to host at least 10 percent of the venue capacity and the rest would watch the show virtually.
We are also hoping to have fan parks around the country where the venues would host about 50 people for something which would be called ‘Born and Raised Fanpark’ where people could watch the show at those venues.
If the restrictions are uplifted we will have a fully-fledged show.
Q. This weekend you launched the Born and Raised Detergents. Tell us more.
This came after the realisation that whenever we had the BnR merchandise for sale they would get sold out.
Our music festival tickets also always sold out. We realized BnR was a brand that everyone wanted to be associated with. We thought to come up with a product that would come with the BnR brand and leverage its popularity. Then we thought in line with Covid-19 and cleanliness; why not come up with a product that would mitigate the gap and hence the detergents. It was merely due to the interest people have in BnR.
Q. Where can Batswana access your products?
Choppies has our product, which means the products can be accessed countrywide and are being distributed by Kamoso Africa.
We have other supermarkets such as Square Mart and most wholesalers in Serowe but we are still in talks with other retailers.
Q. It can’t have been easy to get brands like Choppies to stack your products. How did you achieve this, for those interested in following suit?
Choppies has a remarkable and wider footprint in Botswana and hence it was always the preferred choice.
Born and Raised has always worked with Choppies and so the marriage was only inevitable.
If it weren’t for Choppies we would struggle to get our products out there.
It is true that it is not easy to have products in supermarkets like Choppies.
Part of it is because it is expensive to have your products there but because of our long-standing relationship, it was only inevitable.
Q. How important is the coming Citizen Economic Empowerment Bill to young entrepreneurs?
Currently, we have a policy but it hasn’t been effective because it hasn’t become law.
So once it’s turned into law it will force businesses to ensure they stack local products.
It will push for borders to be closed for certain markets because there is sufficient production of goods and products locally.
I am calling for the quick adoption of that law and for its implementation.
Q. Locally produced products, aka PushBW, are often criticized for being substandard quality. Your comment?
The challenge that many of us have is access to money, the capital.
When I have money I can produce the quantity and quality that is required.
The challenging aspect is strongly dependent on the lack of capital and so with this law, I’ll be able to get capital anywhere.
With the right amount of money, there is nothing stopping local products from competing effectively in the market.
Q. On that point, there have been complaints from locals who feel foreign nationals dominate certain markets and make it difficult for the small man to get a foothold. Your take?
It’s simple: they have the capital!
We also don’t have laws that speak against foreign national encroaching against that.
If we had stringent laws that protect citizens to certain industries it would avoid foreign nationals from encroaching businesses that an ordinary Motswana would do.
Batswana now have the right expertise but they just don’t have the capital and resources.
I don’t blame foreign nationals though because it’s an opportunity for them; if an opportunity arises why not!
Q. Getting slightly more personal, besides work what do you get up to?
I have a communication firm but asides from that I socialize a lot.
I don’t do farming because I don’t have a farm, to begin with so I won’t lie and say I do farming.
Q. Let’s talk love – is there a special lady in your life?
Yes. Actually, if it was not for the restrictions I would be married by now.
I want a big wedding so I will have to wait until after the restrictions because I want everyone who cares to attend my wedding.
Q. Huge congratulations! So what is your take on the radio now?
There is more that should be done.
I feel there is no interest in the current crop in terms of their delivery.
Q. Would you ever go back to radio?
Of course, I would.
If an opportunity arises I would take it.
In fact, I am longing for that opportunity because I am realising there is a gap.
Q. Wow, we’ll take that as a scoop! And finally, TGIF, what will you be up to this Friday?
I will be working at my office, not this office but at my communication agency office and of course, spending time with my little girl.